Blessed Joan of Toulouse
In 1240, a few Carmelite brothers from Palestine started a monastery in Toulouse, France. The great Carmelite priest, St. Simon Stock, visited Toulouse twenty-five years later. A good and devout woman asked to see him. She introduced herself simply as Joan.
She earnestly asked the priest if she could join the Carmelite order as an associate. St. Simon Stock who was the head of the order agreed and granted Joan’s request. Joan became the first lay associate. She received the habit of the Carmelite order and in the presence of St. Simon Stock, Joan made a promise to always be chaste and pure.
Joan continued her quiet, simple life in her own home. She tried to be as faithful as possible to the rules of the Carmelites for the rest of her life. Joan went to daily Mass and devotions at the Carmelite church.
She spent the rest of the day visiting the poor, the sick and the lonely. She trained the altar boys. She helped the elderly and those who were weak and frail by performing useful tasks and running errands for them. Joan prayed with them and brightened many lives with her cheerful conversations.
Blessed Joan carried a picture of the crucified Jesus in her pocket. That was her "book." Every now and then, she would pull out the picture and gaze at it. Her eyes would light up. People said that Joan read some new and wonderful lesson every time she studied the picture.
Do what you can to cheer someone today. You too in your own small way can help brighten lives.
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